Don’t be fooled by the Grande or Evo models; all Puntos post-2005 are basically the same - no matter what prefix or suffix used. This third generation car can trace its roots back to 1993 when the first was introduced, and set the supermini sector alight. This latest model is slightly larger than the first, allowing the new Panda to slot beneath it in the firm’s range, but it’s still very much a Ford Fiesta and Opel Corsa competitor.
Unlike the first generation there’s no convertible model to choose, but there are both three- and five-door examples. There’s no difference in cabin size between the two, though the latter obviously offers easier access, so is perfect for family buyers especially.
Even though the Punto has only been on sale for around seven years, it’s already had a series of name changes; introduced as the Grande Punto in 2005, only four years later it was re-christened Punto Evo and was subjected to a mild facelift. This was then dropped at the start of 2012 when another facelift saw the badging revert to simply Punto.
When introduced the Punto came with a choice of 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines as well as a 1.3-litre diesel MultiJet option. Opt for the Sporting trim and you’ll find a couple of 1.9-litre diesels offering the perfect blend of speed and frugality. By the time the Evo was introduced the 1.3-litre diesel was revised and a 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol unit added to the range.
Originally buyers could choose from Active, Active Sport, Dynamic, GP and Sporting trims, while there was the odd special edition like the Sound as well. Fast forward to 2012 and the line-up was simplified to Pop, Easy and GBT trims while throughout its lifetime the Punto has been available with either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed semi-automatic.
Find yourself a five-door model; they’re just as stylish as the three-door and much more family friendly. It’s not often we’d recommend a diesel supermini, as petrol models are often just as economical, but the 1.3-litre MultiJet engine in the Punto is worth seeking out - especially the later ones with stop-start. The first examples can achieve 4.6 litres/100km and emit 122g/km, but if you can stretch to a 2011 model then those figures drop to 3.6 litres/100km and 95g/km. Look for a post-2009 car if you can to take advantage of the higher standard specification and more efficient engines.
Engines: 1,248cc four-cylinder
Maximum speed: 175km/h
0-100km/h: 11.9 seconds
Fuel consumption: 4.6 litres/100km
Euro NCAP: * * * * *
• Wide range of engines
• Spacious cabin
• Stylish looks
• Reliability issues
• Stodgy handling
• Cabin plastics
There’s no doubt the Ford Fiesta is a better car to drive, but there are few superminis quite as stylish as the Fiat Punto - despite the fact it dates back to 2005. And that’s certainly one of the key selling points; the sheer number of examples on the used market mean prices are low and values to the buyer high - making the Punto an ideal budget family supermini.